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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Mobile & Accessories | Scorpion Antennas SA-680 Help

Reviews Summary for Scorpion Antennas SA-680
Scorpion Antennas SA-680 Reviews: 96 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $849
Description: SA-680 covers 10 through 80 meters.
Length retracted: 39Ē Extended:57Ē
3 inch diameter coil with 10 gage tinned copper wire wound at 6 Threads Per Inch.
Mobile or backyard typical vswr 1.5:1 or less.
Antenna rated at 1500 watts PEP
Weight 18 Lbs
Product is in production.
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K8ZZ Rating: 5/5 Apr 8, 2019 12:48 Send this review to a friend
Great mobile anntenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
I am a County Hunter, and that means I USE my antenna. I only have 315 counties to finish transmitting from all 3077. Mostly CW and 4 or 5 band changes in every new county, which means my antenna gets a lot of work. Have tried 2 other similar antennas and was not happy. I have used this antenna for 3 years so I know it works. Had one small issue with connector, and Ron, NI7J, took care of it immediately, at no cost of course. Highly recommend this quality product.. K8ZZ
K9EYZ Rating: 5/5 Nov 12, 2018 05:24 Send this review to a friend
Initial impressions of my new Scorpion  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've had my Scorpion SA-680 "Black Widow" for about 2 weeks now, and I'm really impressed. I'm a relatively new ham, and have been operating mobile for nearly 2 years. I own two other screwdriver antennas, hamsticks, etc. I've not been disappointed with my other screwdrivers, and they continue to serve me well; I just needed a new antenna for my new truck (the others are staying with the older vehicles).

To start off, I am impressed with the communication from Ron at Scorpion. I emailed the "contact us" address with questions before purchasing, and was surprised to get an email from Ron (owner/president). He asked if he could give me a phone call to answer my inquiry. He was very helpful, answered all of my questions, and offered advice on how I might begin the process of bonding/grounding my new truck. I had already read the K0BG website and had nearly 16 bonding points on my older truck, but Ron was very helpful and gave me a few ideas I had not considered. His personal phone call is what convinced to buy the Scorpion rather than the other two brands I was researching.

The packaging of this antenna was amazing and an quite a feat of engineering in itself. It's a well thought out process, and quite a durable package. It comes shipped in a rigid cardboard tube with circular plywood cut to close the ends and to support the antenna in the middle of the tube. It would be really hard to damage the Scorpion in shipping. You MUST read the instructions when unpacking. The packaging of my other screwdrivers was not even remotely as robust.

After unpacking, I found the antenna to be very "solid". It feels firm and is well manufactured. I like the so-239 connector on the side of the antenna base, which allows a 3/4" bolt from the center of the bottom of the antenna to be used as the primary means of mounting. This is in contrast to my other screwdrivers which feed from the bottom and require a separate mounting bracket mounted to a rigid pole/pipe or the side of the truck bed. It just "looks" like a cleaner installation, and it makes the antenna easier to design a mounting solution (at least it did in my case).

You will need to give serious consideration when choosing how to mount this antenna. It's reported to weigh 18 pounds (I haven't weighed mine, but it definitely much more heavy than my other screwdrivers - I certainly believe it weighs that much). It's also very large and very tall. My initial thoughts were to mount it in the bed of my F250. But being impatient and lazy, I thought I'd try a Breedlove stakepocket mount with Scorpion foldover mount on the bedrail to get the antenna installed more quickly without having to crawl under the truck. The performance seemed great, but the antenna was just too tall for navigating the neighborhoods with low overhanging tree limbs. This would also be a problem for any other brand of similar size screwdriver. I also found that the 18 pounds of antenna was just too much for the stakepocket mount to hold when folded over - the mount was "levered" upwards as the weight of the antenna pivots with the foldover. This was not a dealbreaker for me - I just went back to my original plan to mount it in the bed. But you will need to really give consideration to the weight and height when you choose a mounting solution.

With the Scorpion now mounted on a Breedlove "Bennie Bracket" in the bed of the truck and with a 3" diameter quick disconnect for the Scorpion from Breedlove, I have found what I believe to be the ideal mounting location for my Scorpion. It sits rigid and firm. With the antenna "parked" at the lowest location, the top of the coil sits just barely above the cab of my F250. The whip is 6 feet above that (NOTE: I also have the capacity hat, but have not yet installed that).

Out of the box, my SWR was 1.04 on 20m, 1.08 on 40m, and 1.8 on 75/80m. I built a new coil of the same diameter with 4 more turns than the one provided with the antenna, and I now have good compromise of 1.2 on 75m, 1.18 on 40m and 1.08 on 20m. I have not tested the antenna above 20m yet.

So how does it perform? Well, with just less than 2 weeks with it, I'm impressed. I'm using an Icom IC-706MkIIg with no tuner and no amp. I run the rig at 90Watts power. Perhaps, it could be only propagation, but it's off to an excellent start. I've used it primarily on 75m for checking in to our state ARES nets and for participating in the 3905 century club's 75m nets so far. I've made about 20 contacts over several days from about 100 miles to about 1500 miles away, and my lowest RST on 75m so far is readability of 4 and signal strength of 6. This is by no means a scientific assessment, but I did find it pleasantly surprising.

I look forward to using this antenna more over the next few months and learning what I can expect from it. But so far, I really like it. I'll try to post back when I have more data on the performance of the Scorpion.
W4YB Rating: 5/5 Nov 4, 2018 19:43 Send this review to a friend
Just a great mobile antenna  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have the SA 680 10 - 80 meters painted black (black widow). I have used many of the antennas out there but the scorpion for my instillation on an suv is superb. I use the provided matching coil in a protective box and without any adjustment (I realize it might vary from instillation to instillation)I get flat swr on 20 and 40 and less than 1.5 on 80. Most of my reports are "great signal for a mobile." That's running 100 watts. Occasionally I get "are you sure you are mobile". I have had no major problems with the antenna. If a tuning problem arises it is usually a grounding problem or operator error. I am installing the TuneMatic now but have no problem tuning with a simple rocker switch. I have certainly enjoyed the antenna over the past few years and would recommend it to anyone without reservation. Ron is just a great guy and very responsive to your problems and questions. Get one and try it. You will be glad you did.
W0RIC Rating: 5/5 Oct 30, 2018 21:04 Send this review to a friend
160 METER BEAST  Time owned: more than 12 months
When I first purchased this Scorpion antenna for my SUV 9 years ago, I never thought about using it for 160 meters. After 8+ years of having it mounted on my car, AND WORKING EVERY CONTINENT from the mobile, I removed the antenna for 160 meter home use.

I am now loading my Zero-Five Vertical with the Scorpion. Mr. Scorpion, Ron NI7J assisted me in adding a CAP HAT for the vertical and building a custom SHUNT BOX. After experimenting with several shunt coils we figured out the optimum turns needed and Ron made the custom shunt coil box with a relay. He also designed the common mode choke junction box. Now, all I do is send 12VDC to the shunt and poof! 160 meters. I can fine tune using the screwdriver antenna controller to obtain a flat match. To hop to 80 meters all I do is turn off the power to the shunt and re-tune on 80M.

I've worked the VP6D on 160M CW & FT8. I've also worked 46 countries between 80 & 160. All in the last week!
If your considering 160 meters please talk to Ron, NI7J and order an antenna and shunt upgrade box. Also get the instructions for building a cap hat and ordering a balun. You will be happy you did.

See you on 160 (if I can hear you)

K7KO Rating: 5/5 Jun 26, 2018 23:53 Send this review to a friend
Love my Scorpion SA-680  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had my Scorpion antenna on the air for several months, and I am very pleased with its performance. I am using an ICOM IC-7000 in my Toyota Camry hybrid. I regularly check in to the Noon Time Net on 40 meters during the day and the Washington Amateur Radio Traffic System every evening. People are constantly amazed at how strong my signal is. I worked Australia on 80 meter SSB from our company parking lot several weeks ago, and I worked Slovania on 20 meter SSB last week while driving home on I5 North and got a 5/9 signal report. I am using a Tunematic tuner to set the Scorpion coil. The Scorpion is mounted on a Breedlove trailer hitch mount and I have a 102 inch whip on top of the coil. Ron from Scorpion has given me excellent technical support as I worked through a few details involving the TuneMatic, which I will explain in a review on the TuneMatic web site. I highly recommend this entire setup.
K3VPZ Rating: 5/5 Jun 15, 2018 22:13 Send this review to a friend
This Scorpion Antenna is the Mercedes Benz of antennas.  Time owned: more than 12 months
The SA-680 Antenna is made of the industries finest materials that money can buy to create the most excellent mobile antenna on earth. This is the last mobile antenna that I will own because it has a lifetime warranty. Anything made of stainless steel feels better than gold to me and this antenna has lots of 304 steel in it.
I have had this antenna for over five years and is now in my second car. I can't begin to tell you the fun I've had with this antenna. The performance of this antenna has to be tried to be appreciated.
The station in my current car consists of an ICOM IC-706MIIG, the Tunematic TM-1, and of course the Scorpion SA-680. Very simple station that just works. If you can hear them you can work them.
The first mobile station in my van was the '706, the 1000w PW-1, the SA-680, and the Ameritron screwdriver controller. This setup worked nicely but I wanted more frequencies that I could go to fast.
I gave this antenna a 5.0/5.0 because it has never let me down, excellent SWR on all bands 10-80m, and was built to last.
For years I had used the hamsticks antennas for my mobile setup, but got tired of switching bands. Not so with the Scorpion - the TM-1 makes changing frequencies with the SA-680 effortlessly.
I recommend this antenna for any mobile setup and you will not be disappointed.
W7SBM Rating: 5/5 May 10, 2018 19:33 Send this review to a friend
Love It  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have the Scorpion 680 with cap hat, installed on my F250 using a Breedlove bed mount, tunematic controller, and IC-7100.

First, Alan (K0BG), without his website, and willingness to answer hundreds of questions, I might have never even attempted this install. Ron at Scorpion, Iíve never experienced better customer service than this. Jim at tunematic, RF connect, Ham Radio Outlet in Portland, PowerWerx all were great to work with. 👍👍👍

The scorpion pictures donít do it justice. Form, fit, finish are top quality. When you remove it from the shipping container, you see the US flag sticker, and my first thought was heck yeah, this is what made in the USA should always look like.

Installation of the antenna is straight forward. I am struggling with the antenna matching procedure Alan provided. That is probably my inexperience. Iíll get it finished Saturday.

As a newbie, Iím tempted to tell you Iíve been able to pick up great signals from basically around the world, from the driver seat of my truck. Which is true. But, I think what Iíd want to know the antenna worth the price. Without hesitation, my answer is yes. Combined with a good install I think the Scorpion is simply amazing. I love it.

K4MMB Rating: 5/5 Apr 8, 2018 19:28 Send this review to a friend
Excellent   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought a 680 used and mounted on our RV in a campground.
Pain in the neck location for an antenna but this screw vertical is perfect solution.

Mounted on a twenty foot pipe attached to the RV and ran verticals across roof.

Quick matching and great reports.

Could not be happier. This is an extremely well constructed antenna. High quality materials and superb construction practices obvious.

Ron of Scorpion has been so helpful with missing parts, great knowledge and advice.

If you can find your way to one of these then donít hesitate.

KD8YVC Rating: 5/5 Jan 10, 2018 15:01 Send this review to a friend
Awesome Antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this antenna because of the reviews I read and the customer service that you get. I have had a few Tarheels in the past and had good success with them ;however, I felt the need to try the best in some others opinions. The correct bonding and mounting of the antenna is a must to get optimal results and after I completed this task I can sum this up(The best antenna that I have ever owned on my Chevy 3500 duramax dually). I have had this antenna installed for a week and yesterday on 40 meters made contacts to Brasil and Panama. Today while I was traveling to work on 20 meters I made contacts to Italy all on 100 watts on my Icom 7000. If any of you want to contact me any time feel free to do so.

KC7YRA Rating: 5/5 Dec 19, 2017 07:40 Send this review to a friend
Scorpion = Lightning in a bottle  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
A couple of months ago I purchased my second SA-680 after owning my original one for 5+ years. Nothing is wrong with the first, I just needed one for my car.

Sending off a few emails, Ron remembered me from before (Rare state plus odd questions regarding build quality) and was happy to work with some of my particular needs. I had a few issues on my end, but everything came together just fine.

It took a couple weeks for the antenna to arrive. During that time, if I had questions, he was always happy to answer emails and keep me up to date on what was happening. Since he and his wife work full time jobs, it's understandable that such a fine product takes time.

It arrived beautifully packed. Removing everything per his instructions, the antenna came out without issue. Just like my old Scorpion, I had ordered this new one in black as well. Over the years this coloring has improved quite a bit, it is much shinier and less prone to fading than the old version. It also sheds ice and mud more easily.

I did notice a significant change with the base mounting scheme. Older versions had a mounting stud which you affixed to the vehicle, then the antenna sat on top of that for easy removal. This new version did away with that and instead has a completely Delrin (Acetal) base piece which is threaded for the 3/4 inch mounting thread. I'm not going to lie, I kinda wrinkled my nose at this. I'm a believer in stainless and a lot of it.

Doing some math, I was able to calculate that the Delrin threads had a pull strength which was at least comparable to that of steel, and depending on the density, exceeded steel. The pull strength of 3/4 inch all-thread is less than this piece of "plastic". Ron has never steered me wrong before, so I plowed ahead with mounting. I bought a quick disconnect from Breedlove, which works great BTW.

Mounting the antenna was fairly straightforward. It is large and exerts a significant torsional load on whatever holds it. Seeing as I was mounting this to a unibody family car without a traditional frame, I carefully designed and welded up a custom mount which can transfer the force to safe places.

With the lines properly choked I set about to tune everything. Results were wonky to say the least. I've been playing HF mobile for 20 years, so I pretty quickly determined what the issue was. Because the base is all Delrin, there was no DC path between the coax shield and the rest of the vehicle. Since I had taken care to choke the feedline and control lines, there was essentially only half of an antenna. I used a wide strap of braid to jumper across from base to antenna. Keep in mind this isn't to make up for deficiencies in ground-plane or RF problems. This was a DC ground which facilitated connection of the antenna to the vehicle and allowed the shunt coil to do its thing. I chose to manufacture a custom mount as high as possible so that the RF return path is short, as opposed to just using a trailer hitch.

At any rate, everything tuned up perfectly from there on. I control it with a Tunematic auto tuner, so I can sail down the interstate and QSY with reckless abandon. If you are looking for an antenna which will survive rough treatment, perform exceedingly well, and have the best technical support imaginable, save your pennies and pick up a Scorpion. I've broken (or watched being broken) nearly every commercial HF antenna made over the past few decades. The Scorpion is the only antenna which seems impossible to kill.
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